Beauty pageants for girls and women are, and always have been, an objectification of females. Such contests, like Miss America and Miss USA and Miss California, judge women strictly on the basis of physical attributes that adhere to a cultural norm. They mess with girls’ minds, even when they themselves are not part of the events, and can cause eating disorders, depression, and other self-esteem issues, taking away a girl’s chance for a normal life.
So, why would we, Foothill Technology, acknowledge and participate in such a degrading, objectifying event? Doesn’t even a parody of these competitions acknowledge their cultural impact? Isn’t it time to “just say no” to stereotyping of all kinds? And why is it that one cannot help but laugh at these silly, attention-seeking boys strutting their stuff on stage for the school, and potentially the entire YouTube and Facebook world, to see?
Other schools in the state have been performing these pageants for years, but the concern is making clear that these are “mock” pageants, in a way that does not put down women (any more than the actual pageants already do). There have been parent complaints in some of these schools about the content of the mock pageants, but, apparently, none have seriously affected the shows.
If one does not think too much about the background and effects of real beauty pageants, these Mr. Foothill and Mr. Buena send-ups can be quite an entertaining and engaging way to raise funds for Foothill (or Buena, or whichever high school is putting on the performance).
After investigating several different high school’s Mr. Insert-school-name-here pageants, I found them all to be, well, the same. They all include some sort of dance number, a swimsuit apparel bit and a talent portion and even an eveningwear competition (obviously, not unlike traditional beauty pageants).
No variation, no creativity, no spark, they become just the thing they are mocking, with, thankfully, a little less seriousness.
Perhaps, though, Mr. Villa, the teacher organizing the pageant, will pull Foothill out of this traditional rut that makes every school seem the same and each act vaguely familiar, as if you’ve seen it all before. Foothill, with the addition of baby videos and a Q&A (a vital part of traditional beauty pageants), may just distinguish itself from the rest of the schools who offer similar events. Maybe Foothill’s alleged “nerdiness” will kick things up a notch from mindless parody to something a little more creative.
One interesting thing I noticed while watching similar send-ups at other schools, such as Foothill (another Foothill, not Foothill Technology) and Buena high school, was that boys often end up making better girls than girls do, through sheer enthusiasm if nothing else. The boys participating, it seems, get totally into the spirit of the competition and try their best and most outrageous moves to win the coveted title from the judges.
Perhaps Mr. Villa’s “campy” fundraiser may end up with a little less campy and a little more pageant.
Since this is our first Mr. Foothill contest, we will all just have to wait and see what evolves. But, to say the least, it will be an interesting performance to view and even more fascinating to see who will go down in the history books (or at least our yearbooks) as the very first Mr. Foothill.